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USDA gives biofuel companies $44.6 million

USDA has awarded grants judged on the amount of biofuels a company produces from renewable biomass
USDA has awarded grants judged on the amount of biofuels a company produces from renewable biomass

The USDA said today that it will grant a total of $44.6 million (€32.6 million) in payments to more than 150 biofuels producers in the US to help support them in producing and expanding their developments.

Some companies, such as Texas-based White Energy, are being awarded more than $3 million towards ethanol production. Whereas others, such as QB Corporation, based in Idaho, is being given just under $500 towards its pelleting business.

The payments were judged on the amount of biofuels a company produces from renewable biomass, other than corn kernel starch, such as those derived from cellulose, crop residue, organic waste, biogas, vegetable oil and animal fat.

Some companies, such as Western Dubuque Biodiesel, which received a payment of $488,000, will be able to save employee jobs because they will be able to keep producing 30 million gallons a year of biodiesel from soyabean, canola and tallow esters.

Potomac, a company based in Virginia, received $36,500, and will now avoid making 10 employees redundant. Potomac will continue to produce biofuels from fuel pellets and dry kiln, using pine chips, sawdust and shavings feedstock.

Agriculture secretary Tom Vilsack says the grants will help ‘increase the production and availability of renewable energy and thus help our nation begin to reduce its reliance on foreign oil’.

‘Just as importantly, USDA's support will help to further develop the nation's growing biofuels industry and generate green jobs and economic growth,’ he says.

USDA has awarded grants judged on the amount of biofuels a company produces from renewable biomass